Today’s Top Alzheimer’s News
A June 15, 2017 AlzForum article reported on a new study from ADNI (Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative) looking for a causal link between amyloid (Aβ) deposition and subsequent cognitive decline, which has been challenging for researchers to nail down. Aβ can start accumulating in the brain two decades before cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease emerge. According to Pieter Jelle Visser and Betty Tijms of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the study “clearly indicates that amyloid pathology in cognitively normal older persons is not a benign phenomenon of normal aging but part of a progressive neurodegenerative disease.”
According to a June 15, 2017 UPI article, an excess of neural activity can overwhelm the brain and may contribute to memory and attention problems in patients with Alzheimer's. Insufficient transmission of the neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) has been linked to Alzheimer's and other age-related cognitive decline. According to psychologist Tobias Bast, "Our review highlights potential pharmacological treatments to re-balance aberrant neural activity and restore memory and attention, which we aim to test in future research."
A June 15, 2017 AlzForum article spotlighted a mutation in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) that protects carriers against developing Alzheimer’s disease. Finnish men with the protective mutation (A673T) have on average 28% less plasma Aβ than those without the gene. The findings suggest a path to prevention, indicating that a less-than-total blockade of Aβ production yields benefits later on. “It really shows what these protective mutations are doing—they reduce amyloid production over the lifetime and prevent the disease,” said Christian Haass of the German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases in Munich.
A June 15, 2017 Medscape commentary by Richard S. Isaacson, MD, Director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, focuses on Alzheimer’s prevention through specific targeted approaches. According to Isaacson, the ABC’s of Alzheimer's prevention are: ”A” for body composition, "B" for blood biomarkers/genetics, and "C" for cognition or cognitive measures.
A June 14, 2017 WHAS ABC 11 segment spotlighted the opening of the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic at UT Medical Center on what would have been her 65th birthday. Summitt died from early-onset dementia last year. Her son Tyler quotes his mom, “You win in life with people.” The focus of the clinic will be on treatment for people with AD.